Operations Management

Despite my previous discussions regarding the initial resistance that faced the introduction of Taylor’s scientific management, today many acknowledges the influences of those very basic principles of the scientific management on the fields of operations management, and operations research.

The consensus among almost all operations management’s researchers, academics, and practitioners is that the real origin of the current principles of operations management is credited back to the contributions of the fundamental principles of the scientific management. The research effort in the development of the scientific management led by Frederick Taylor has laid the foundations for the massive development of operations management and operations research throughout the many decades since it inception over a hundred years ago.

In this section, I will attempt to discuss the historical development of the field of operations management, and to emphasize on those significant developmental mile‐stones. Prior to dive‐in onto this discussion, I would like to offer a brief definition of the operations management as we know it today.

Operations management is the function of designing, planning, and allocating financial and human resources in order to effectively, and efficiently transfer raw material into finished goods that can be sold at a significant profit margin. Even though the concept of the operations management goes as back as the time of building and constructing the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, it wasn’t until the convergence of the scientific management approach along with its theoretical derivatives that proceeded in the middle of the twentieth century.

Similar to any other discipline in the organization theory, the operations management has evolved exponentially along side with all the changes that swept our industrial, social, and educational establishments. All those improvements from various disciplines have shaped the operations management field, but the core element from the scientific management has maintained its position and validity within the operations management’s core discipline, and that is to constantly thrive for better efficiency as you go about planning, designing, and producing new products.

The following table (figure 1.0) provides a snapshot of the historical development of operations management. (Reid & Sanders, 2009, P.12)


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